Industry News

High-Power Impulse Plasma Source Coatings Technology

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) (San Antonio, Texas, USA) has developed high-power impulse plasma source (HiPIPS) technology that efficiently generates coatings using high-density, high-flux plasmas at low temperatures and atmospheric pressures.

These coatings extend the life, enhance the properties, and prevent damage and corrosion of materials and components, according to the institute.

HiPIPS, first developed under a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program, is seen as a cost-effective alternative to surface modification techniques that typically require thermal processes or vacuum chambers.

New Coating Chemistries

The technology opens the door for new coating chemistries and unprecedented coating/substrate combinations, according to the institute, with potential applications including coatings on plastics, textiles, and biologically sensitive materials as well as depositing protective metallic and ceramic coatings as an environmentally friendly alternative to electroplating.

“HiPIPS has already had groundbreaking successes in developing coatings for defense applications,” said Dr. Vicky Poenitzsch, a principal scientist in SwRI’s mechanical engineering division who led the development of the technology. “Because HiPIPS outperforms other ambient pressure plasmas and rivals vacuum plasma systems, the technology could revolutionize the surface engineering industry.”

Wide Range of Applications

The technology has also proven useful for surface cleaning, activation of polymer surfaces, and improving interfacial adhesion in layered composite materials. It deposits conductive coatings on plastics and durable, hydrophobic coatings for self-cleaning and drag reduction applications.

“HiPIPS is portable and scalable with a nearly inexhaustible range of applications,” Poenitzsch said.

For more information, contact: SwRI, (210) 684-5111, www.swri.org